Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Counterclockwise – Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects


Hailling from Croatia, Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects are an eclectic, rock power trio.  Counterclockwise is their follow-up album to their debut 2010 album, Destination Unkown.

01. Too Much Is Not Enough – The album opens with a short 30 second track with subtle guitar and vocals which crescendos near the end to propel us into the next song.

02. Build Your Destiny – A driving beat and uplifting message, ‘Build Your Destiny’ shows that the band plays very well together, with the contrast between Ivan’s vocals and electric guitar, with the bass and drums supporting.  This track really showcases each of the band members without overshadowing anyone else’s performance.

03. What Is Underneath – With this song, the band explores the difference between people’s outward projections and ‘What Is Underneath.’  Alen really shines through with the drum-work on this track.  It ends with a very effective a cappella.

04. Driving Force – Powerful choruses and an energetic interplay between the guitar and bass make up ‘Driving Force.’  It is also the second longest track on the album, clocking in at over eight minutes.  Ivan has a blistering guitar solo near the end of the track.

05. Gilded Cage – “Gilded Cage’ is my favorite song on the album.  It starts out with a percussive cadence and a mellow guitar.  The vocals and instruments compliment the lyrics about a man contemplating life in a hotel room.  Ivan also has a chance to show off his vocal range.

06. Gift Of Life – After a brief intro, ‘Gift Of Life’ slams the listener with heavy guitar before settling into a bass groove.  The balance between heavy and light, music and silence in this track is impressive.  It would seem an exercise in control if it didn’t sound so natural and free.  Ivan unleashes another phenomenal guitar solo near the close of the track.

07. Time Travel – ‘Time Travel’ is a very unique track; Ivan Mihaljevic & Side Effects create some sounds from their instruments that I can’t say I’ve heard before.  It is very refreshing.  This is the only instrumental track on the album, and it is very well done.

08. Eclipse – The longest song on the album at 12 minutes, ‘Eclipse’ has a lot going on.  The beginning reminds me of one of those spooky rides at an amusement park, with a darker soundscape.  A minute in and the driving guitar kicks in and you can’t help but pulsate with the music.  This song is about inner struggle, and the band does a great job portraying the feelings and emotions through lyrics and music.

09. I Am – Acoustic guitar and solid vocals make up the intro to the last track on the album.  The transition from ‘Eclipse’ to this track was expertly done.  The blend of acoustic and electric along with softer and heavier music is very rewarding.  It ends with just a little bit of dissonance, which conveys that they are not finished.

Counterclockwise is a very tight album; from the singing and instrumentals to the mastering and presentation.  I get the sense that the band spent a lot of time making this album and getting it to sound exactly how they wanted.  I don’t know how much time they spent making this, but it is well worth your time to grab a copy and give them a listen.  I eagerly await their next album.

Album rating: 10/10

Official website: www.ivanmihaljevic.com


© 2013 Nate Phillipps

Friday, May 10, 2013

Enjoy The Darkness

The Story of Darksoul Theatre

Mikhail Tank’s Psychological Antidotes and Soul Prescriptions: The Story of Darksoul Theatre documents the events, emotions, and thoughts that led to his creation of Darksoul Theatre.  This documentary offers an intimate look at the inception and struggle of a performance artist.  Mikhail’s interests are theatre, spoken word, video, and a positive life outlook.

Presented in chronological order, Mikhail starts with his childhood in Russia and the oppression he felt creatively.  Upon moving to America for high school, he immediately took to expressing himself in any way, and anywhere, he was able.  From the lunch room to during class to the stage, Mikhail embraced the freedom his new home allowed.  From there he talks about his college years and collaborations, and even his plans for the future of his art and Darksoul Theatre.

The main theme of Psychological Antidotes and Soul Prescriptions is really positive messages for life.  Mikhail frames this life philosophy in terms of darkness versus negativity.  Mikhail feels the two are opposites, where negativity will bring you down if you embrace the darkness of yourself you know yourself, and can fulfill your creative potential.  He also poses a thoughtful question about the motive for creativity.  The question is whether one is creative to clear their soul, for money, or for the souls in the audience.

Visually, the documentary contains a mix of interview footage, studio footage, original performance footage, and interesting visual effects.  All-in-all it was well assembled and flowed nicely between the different elements.

Psychological Antidotes and Soul Prescriptions is an informative and emotional documentary.  Mikhail talks about struggles and challenges but always manages to see the positives in every situation.  He infuses himself in his art and holds nothing back, and in that sense this documentary would be more powerful if the viewer immersed themselves in his performances and art.  For an interesting and life-affirming documentary about one man’s creative outlets, peer into your inner darkness and watch Psychological Antidotes and Soul Prescriptions.

For more information check out Amazon or IMdB.com